Services which are outwith the NHS Contract
The National Health Service provides most healthcare to the majority of people free of charge, but there are exceptions. GPs are self-employed and are contracted to provide NHS general medical services for their patients.
Sometimes, GPs are asked to provide additional services which fall outside their contract and in these circumstances, they are entitled to make a reasonable charge for providing them.
What is the process?
When a doctor signs a certificate or completes a report, the doctor needs to check the patient’s entire medical record to ensure that they are providing accurate information. If you ask for a private letter or form, we will ask the GP to quickly review it and confirm the fee before they start the work, this is because the fee for letters and forms could vary between £15 – £130 depending on the time taken. You will then be contacted to advise you of the fee and gain your agreement that you would like the work completed.
GPs will aim to complete the private medical work within two weeks but sometimes this can take longer due to clinical work taking priority.
If you have several forms requiring completion, please present them all at once and ask the receptionist if bringing them as a ‘job lot’ can reduce the price.
Our standard fees and charges are available from our reception.
The following policy is followed for any requests by patients for a sick note around the time of a school or university examination.
- If ill <1 week and sit the exam then no note can be issued
- If ill >1 week and sit the exam then a note can be issued if they were seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner in the surgery
- If you miss the exam, you will need to be seen on day of exam, and we will issue a note.
- If you have never seen by us, then no note can be issued.
- If you leave part way through an exam, you must come and be seen the same day and then we can do note, otherwise no note can be issued.
The cost of providing the private sick note will be £15
Your questions answered
Isn’t the NHS supposed to be free?
The National Health Service provides most healthcare to the majority people free of charge, but there are exceptions: for example, medical reports for insurance companies.
Surely the Doctor is being paid anyway?
It is important to understand that GPs are not employed by the NHS, they are self-employed and they have to cover their costs – staff, buildings, heating, lighting, etc – in the same way as any small business. The NHS covers these costs for NHS work, but for non-NHS work the fee has to cover the Doctor’s costs.
In recent years, more and more organisations have been involving Doctors in a whole range of non-medical work. Sometimes the only reason that GPs are asked to do non-medical work is because they are in a position of trust in the community, or because an insurance company or employer wants to be sure that information provided is true and accurate.
Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge their NHS patients are:
- accident/sickness insurance certificates
- certain travel vaccinations
- private medical insurance reports
- statements of fact relating to general health e.g. for children’s dance classes
- Letters requested by, or on behalf of, the patient
- Holiday cancellation claim forms
- Referral for private care forms
Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge other institutions are:
- medical reports for an insurance company
- some reports for the DSS/Benefits Agency
- examinations of occupational health
Why does it sometimes take my GP a long time to complete my form?
Time spent completing forms and preparing reports takes the GP away from the medical care of his or her patients. Most GPs have a very heavy workload – the majority work up to 70 hours a week – and paperwork takes up an increasing amount of their time, so many GPs find they have to take some paperwork home at night and weekends.
I only need the Doctor’s signature – what is the problem?
When a Doctor signs a certificate or completes a report, it is a condition of remaining on the Medical Register that they only sign what they know to be true. In order to complete even the simplest of forms, therefore, the Doctor might have to check the patient’s entire medical record. Carelessness or an inaccurate report can have serious consequences for the Doctor with the General Medical Council or even the Police.
What can I do to help?
- If you have several forms requiring completion, present them all at once.
- Do not expect your GP to process forms overnight
Examples of Non-NHS Services include the following:
- Medicals for pre-employment, sports and driving requirements (HGV, PSV etc.)
- Insurance Claim Forms
- Prescriptions for taking medication abroad
- Private Sick Notes
- Vaccination Certificates
The fees charged are based on the British Medical Association (BMA) suggested scales and Practice Reception Staff will be happy to advise you about them along with appointment availability.